IT was a somewhat disappointing day for most of the bands from Ulster when this year's Scottish Pipe Band Championships took place in Dumbarton Scotland last Saturday.
Nevertheless it was a terrific victory for Cullenfad when they were the only Northern Ireland band to claim a Scottish title. They won the Grade 3B championships under Pipe Major David Trainor. This band was only upgraded to 3B this year and this must be a dream like start to the season for them. Just one point separated the first three Irish bands with Raffrey with Pipe Major Francis Strain in second and Augharonan in third under Pipe Major Jim McGrath. In Grade 2 Killeen had a good day when they clinched the runner up place with Pipe Major Philip Boyce. Just one point behind was Sammy Connolly s Ravara Pipe band who took the third placing and also won the title for best drum corps.
No doubt a talking point will be the score of the four judges in this grade. Ravara was given a third by one and a fourteen place from the other in piping and two firsts in drumming and ensemble. The adjudicators for this grade were J. Campbell, C. Edgar, S.Steele and A. Aitken. This grade was won by Torphichen & Bathgate. In the elite Grade 1 all came right on the day for Pipe Major Terry Tully and his St.Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band from Dublin when they won the Scottish Championships. This band has been pushing hard for victory for the last few seasons and last Saturday all their dedication and perseverance paid off for them when they claimed their first ever major title in Grade 1. They had 2 clear points ahead of Shotts & Dykehed who also won the best drums section. Field Marshal Montgomery claimed third place on ensemble reference.
The other Grade 1 bands from Northern Ireland were Ballycoan and Cullybackey under brothers Glenn Cupples and Robert Cupples and they took 8th and 12th place prizes.
In Grade 3A Cottown just missed out on the prizes and ended up in 7th place. This grade was won by Beeston & District with the City of Edinburgh taking the drumming prize.
Stamperland was the winner in Grade 4B and Black Bottle in 4A and Newtowngrange won best drums in 4A but didn't get into the top six winners. Matt Boyd tied on points for sixth place hut Letterkenny took the placing on ensemble preference.
Our drum majors won two out of the three sections with Brian Wilson winning the senior title and Linzi Hamilton the juvenile one. Lauren Abraham just missed out on top place in the junior grade and took runner up place. Also winning prizes were Kathy Megarry-Calvin, Ryan Ferry and Paula Braiden in the senior grade, and Samantha Gordon in the juvenile and Emma Barr, Dale Fisher and Bethan Martin in the junior grade.
News has just been announced that the Co. Down section of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA has been nominated by the Banbridge Council for a Civic Award for their work in the promotion of pipe band music over the last 30 years.
Also secretary of the section Mervyn Herron has also been nominated for an award for his dedicated service over 25 years to the Co. Down section.
The awards will take place at the Belmont Hotel on Wednesday June 4.
This week the action will take place in Enniskillen with the Co. Fermanagh Championships on Saturday May 31 at the Lakeland Forum, with dress for Drum Majors commencing at 12.15pm and the bands commencing at 12.45pm. Admission is free.
The Larne Pipe Band championships will be held on Saturday June 7 at Sandybay Playing Fields with 44 bands competing for the prizes. On the evening before the pipe band competition, Grade 1 Lothian & Borders Police Pipe band will be appearing in concert under their new Pipe Major Davy Barnes.
Tickets are now on sale from Lorraine McVeigh telephone 07870 389874 or 0289146 6028.